New Delhi: Judges of family court and other
quasi-judicial bodies are not entitled for promotion to High
Court and they are not an "inextricable" part of judicial
services, the Supreme Court has said.
The court said numerous tribunals and quasi-judicial
bodies, which are settling disputes of different nature,
cannot be called courts whose presiding officers are entitled
for being elevated to High Courts.
"Such tribunals or bodies exercise a very limited
jurisdiction. It will not be appropriate to treat them as an
inextricble part of state judicial services or call them
courts as understood in our Constitution merely because they
give a final decision, because they hear witnesses, because
two or more contesting parties appear before them, because
they give decisions which affect the right of the parties and
an appeal might be provided against their decision," the apex
A bench of Justices Swatanter Kumar and C K Prasad
passed the order while dismissing the pleas of judges of
family court of Mahrashtra who had pleaded that like other
higher judicial officers of lower court they should also be
elevated to the Bombay High Court.
"The expression `judicial service` cannot be given a
wider meaning than the one given to it under the Constitution.
To expand that meaning to the extent that all services dealing
with the process of determination of disputes should be
included would tantamount to introducing words which have not
been used by the Constitution," the bench said.
"Keeping in view the limited exposure that is
available to the Presiding Officers of the Family Court, it
may not be feasible to hold that such officers are holding a
`judicial office` in terms of Article 217(2)(a) and are
eligible for consideration for elevation to the High Court,"
the court said.
The judges of family courts submitted before the apex
court that they should also be elevated to the High Court as
they hold judicial office and discharge judicial functions
under the statutory rules.
The apex court, however, was not convinced with their
contention and dismissed their petition saying the nature of
their functioning, transferability and conditions of service
do not justify parity with the members of the higher judicial